4 Cyl. Chip #2: Improved S4s-MK5-code with the 3k stumble reduced
Reviewed by Lotus Esprit World

Changing from chip #3 to chip #2 was always going to be done with little enthusiasm. As I was enjoying playing with all that extra torque that would now be lost. Chip #2 is really a way of increasing performance to S4s levels, without changing the nature of the beast. Chip #3 is wonderful and great fun, but the Esprit loses some of it's poise. All that torque ripping through the rear tires isn't what the Esprit's all about.

You will find some extra torque and power, but in a more refined way. The Esprit runs smoother and suddenly feels more expensive! I know that sounds funny, but losing the rough edges in it's running gives it a quality feel. Performance as ever is wonderful and without the huge surge in torque you'll notice more about the whole driving experience.

It's hard to decided which chip to use, in a perfect world you'd have both. Running chip #2 90% of the time, giving you more refined running and extra performance and an all-round better Esprit over the stock chip. This would also benefit those who run their Esprit's all year round. Using chip #2 in the colder, wetter months, with save any hedge incidents and reduce the wear on your rear tires. Then when the suns out and you feel the need to really enjoy yourself, swap chip #2 for #3 and ride that wave of torque.

Not sure what I'll be doing, as summer is on it's way I'm tempted to leave chip #3 in and have some fun. Especially before I put new rears on! The choice I'll leave to you. I'm sure a deal could be done on purchasing both chips. Ask and see, it would be worth it, if you can afford it.

Additional review, by Stephen Sergeant

Today I fitted number #2 chip into my 1990 Esprit Turbo SE. It only took me about 1 hour start to finish.

On start up, the first thing I noticed was how much more refined and steady the tick over was. Once underway the car just cruised around the small roads around town without the usual jerkiness and hesitation when trying to nip in and out in traffic.

Once on the open road, 3rd, 4th and 5th, the car just pulls from nothing to beyond, 1st and 2nd are just stupid as the tires just destroy themselves. The best £150 you'll spend !!

A word from Frits van der Veen, from the Netherlands

Last week, I ordered Chip #2 (improved S4s code) for my 1990 SE from http://www.PUKesprit.de Marcus delivered promptly with an excellent list of instructions. Great, thanks Marcus!

I hesitated a lot between Chip #2 and Chip #3 (high torque), but several recent accidents with Esprits when accelerating in wet and slippery conditions, I opted for the safer choice. Slightly improving torque,
increasing upper range power, and get away with any stumble would be a good improvement. For more power: the SE already has plenty.

[..] and took the car for a ride. Wow. Great.
After some period of heating up the engine and learning the ECM, I started to try out the engine. It is far smoother now. The turbo comes in far more early, without any apparent turbo lag. It gives the impression of a high-performance engine without turbo now. In all gears, direct thrust is available when required, even from low revs. The turbo pressure quickly goes up to 1 bar now to make full profit of remaining exhaust pressure.

All in all, the car is far more agile, also far smoother. The surprise torque by the turbo is gone now, and the engine behaves far more predictable. This is particularly nice when accelerating out of long corners. A sudden thrust would disturb the balance of the car, and with the new chip the car becomes safer to handle in these situations.

All in all, I am quite pleased about the improvement. It is the best improvement that can be done to these cars. I would recommend to do the Memcal upgrade to everyone.

Happy motoring!


Comments from Bruno Couprie, France

First of all I chose this chip, because I wanted to keep my car as original as possible, without overpushing the engine or the drivetrain. After all, that level of performance came as standard later on from the Lotus factory, so why not enjoy it on older cars? This chip improves the performance and driveability of the engine without entering into the "tuning" area. It also makes it run safer as far as temperatures are concerned, so in the longer term it may also improve the engine's reliability.

After Marcus had professionally reprogrammed the ECU and explained me the changes, it was time for a road test. No better test track than an unlimited autobahn!

Performance: The biggest gain is above 5000 RPM. Before that it was too much of a diesel feel (I know I am being harsh!): big torque from 3000 to 5000, but thereafter it really dropped a lot until 7000 RPM, and like on diesel cars, it used to feel better for acceleration to upshift a bit earlier. Now the torque is much more linear, and the engine is much more alive at high revs. The acceleration above 200 kph is really improved, and the car pulls happily to speeds beyond 250 kph. I actually gained a full 20 kph top speed, which indicates a gain of power above the 35 expected horses. There is also a gain of torque below 5000 RPM, but it does not feel so much, because it is smoother and more linear. But my rear tires keep reminding me whenever I accelerate in 2nd or 3rd gear!

Driveability: The throttle response is slightly improved below 3000 RPM, but there is not so much the ECU can do there, because we are limited mechanically by the turbo itself. Above 3000 RPM, the turbo lag has nearly disappeared. Amazingly the boost pressure indicator on the dashboard follows instantly the throttle pedal. This makes the car much more predictable and safer to drive. Also much more fun!

As a conclusion the engine has still kept its character, everything has not been fully ironed out, but it is smoother, easier and more fun to drive, with better accelerations and speeds. Really the best upgrade to put on your Esprit.